R&D Wire Achieves Major Milestone
improved processing equipment developed with support
from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's
Advanced Technology Program, American Superconductor
Corporation (AMSC) has produced lengths of record-breaking
high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire.
company recently announced that it achieved electric
current carrying capacity in multiple 10-meter lengths
of second-generation (2G) HTS wire equal to or better
than 250 Amperes per centimeter of width, an industrial
world record that approaches performance levels required
for commercial applications. The company’s 2G
results were achieved through a reel-to-reel liquid
deposition production process that has been designed
to be scalable to high-volume, low-cost manufacturing.
use of 2G HTS wire carrying high amperage electrical
current with virtually no resistance promises dramatic
gains in energy efficiency. Today about 10 percent of
transmitted electricity is wasted, largely due to resistance.
The new technology also can increase the efficiency
of large electric motors by as much as 50 percent and
enable smaller, more powerful magnetic resonance imaging
machines for medicine.
2G wires will cost less than first-generation HTS
AMSC received ATP support to develop a large-scale
continuous-process reaction furnace for producing
100-meter lengths of
2G HTS ribbon, a key element for practical commercial
production of the wire.
information on the AMSC 2G HTS wire project and a white
paper on the technology may be found on the company’s
Web site: www.amsuper.com.
Baum, (301) 975-2763
Corrects Chip Errors Early
icrochip miniaturization is making quality control-related
measurement of features during the production process
increasingly difficult. New National Institute
and Technology (NIST) software and research results*
should help manufacturers reduce errors in measuring
microchip features which today measure less than
nanometers (about 1.5 millionths of an inch) in width
and are expected to shrink to 25 nanometers (about
1 millionth of an inch) by 2007.
Currently, most semiconductor manufacturers use scanning
electron microscopes (SEMs) to measure circuitry lines
when the chip is first being patterned. Circuit dimensions
are formed when ultraviolet light is shined on a thin
film of polymer laid over silicon. Exposed areas harden,
allowing unexposed areas to be chemically etched into
tiny troughs for laying down circuit lines. Errors
caught before etching may be correctable, while those
later may result in scrapping the wafer and loss of
a sizeable investment.
NIST software equips the SEMs with a “model
of possible line measurements. Technicians can use
the enhanced SEMs to match measured images with library
images in order to more accurately determine the shapes
and sizes of features. Using the new software can cut
measurement errors from tens of nanometers down to
few nanometers. The new method also is more reliable.
There is about three times less variation among repeated
measurements of the same circuit feature using the
than with the current most commonly used method.
International SEMATECH, a consortium of leading semiconductor
manufacturers that represent about half the world's
semiconductor production, funded the “model library”
J.S. Villarrubia, A.E. Vladár, B.D. Bunday,
and M. Bishop, “Dimensional Metrology of Resist
Lines Using a SEM Model-Based Library Approach,"
Proc. SPIE 5375, expected publication summer 2004.
Named as Finalist in Government Award
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has been
named as one of 15 finalists for the Innovations
in American Government Award.
is a nationwide network of resources managed by the
Commerce Department’s National Institute
of Standards and Technology for helping small manufacturers
become more competitive.
On Jan. 16, 2004, Commerce Secretary Evans released
a comprehensive manufacturing strategy, Manufacturing
in America. A key part of that strategy includes continued
support for the MEP and steps to review and improve
its efficiency. Steps include teaming with the International
Trade Administration and holding a recompetition for
MEP centers. (For more information, see http://www.manufacturing.gov.)
was one of nearly 1,000 applicants for the award.
Five winners will be announced on July 28, 2004 at
the Excellence in Government 2004 Conference, in Washington,
DC. Each winning program will receive a $100,000 grant
to encourage replication of its innovation in other
jurisdictions. For more information on the Innovations
in American Government Award, see http://www.excelgov.org.